Published: Oct. 7, 2021

Dr. Rachel Rinaldo
Associate Professor of Sociology
Director of the Center for Asian Studies 
University of Colorado, Boulder


Thursday, November 4th 12:30PM MST
Zoom link
Meeting ID: 998 8596 8353
Passcode: 487638

Amplifying Inequalities: Gender and the Division of Labor during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Studies during the COVID-19 pandemic in the US show that mothers have taken on more of the responsibility for childcare and remote schooling. But why have such gender inequalities been amplified, even in households where women earn relatively high incomes and are often committed to egalitarian gender ideals? Based on in-depth interviews with 33 parents in the Boulder/Denver area, this research shows that men’s jobs are prioritized due to being perceived as more demanding and/or better compensated, while women’s jobs are perceived as more flexible. Women were more likely to be working part time before the pandemic, and more likely to describe themselves as being the default parents, and the narratives of interviewees show how this is connected to the perception of women's jobs as more flexible. Such tendencies were evident before pandemic, but the lack of childcare during the pandemic has made such arrangements more visible. I argue for the significance of gendered perceptions of flexibility in shaping the division of labor in heterosexual households with children.